Seismic bearing capacity of piles in liquefiable soils

J.A. Knappett, S. P. G. Madabhushi

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    An investigation into the base capacity of piles in passing through loose, liquefiable sand and founded in underlying dense sand is presented based on the results of a series of dynamic centrifuge tests on instrumented model pile groups. Excess pore pressures equal in magnitude to the initial effective vertical stress were observed to be generated in the bearing layer of dense sand at both shallow (15 m) and deep (26 m) depths. This induced a dramatic reduction in base capacity and consequently, large settlements of the piles by as much as similar to 5D(0). A spherical cavity expansion solution for base capacity was validated against measured values showing good agreement, provided that excess pore pressure and dynamic shear stiffness in the bearing layer are known. A simple closed-form relationship, applicable to end-bearing piles, between the degree of liquefaction and the initial pile static safety factor was then developed against plunging failure at the pile base which can be used in design.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)525-535
    Number of pages11
    JournalSoils and Foundations
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


    • bearing capacity
    • centrifuge model test
    • liquefaction
    • piles
    • seismic design
    • settlement (IGC: D7/E4/E8)


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